Reconfiguring Our Lives

So, hello there my friends. Well I told you things are happening and so they are. Here are some details for you to ponder.

Both Maggie and I have taken on other jobs. The reason is simple, hunger. Both of our businesses are cyclical, yes sometimes they go upside down. In order to combat that problem we have begun working for other firms to stabilize the effect.

I have taken on the job of technical selling for a company called Windriver Automatics in Lethbridge. We sell automatic doors and air-curtains. What the heck is an air-curtain, you ask. Air curtains are devices that you put at your entry doors on restaurants or businesses to isolate the outside from the inside with a curtain of air. It keeps the bugs out in the summer and the cold out in the winter. It provides an excellent boundary to keep your environment stable in terms of energy too. So that’s what it does. Neat eh?

Maggie has taken a night-time job working for a large retailer. She is stocking shelves and loves the work. I’m very proud of her.

So here is the rest of the news.

We are moving the travel office back to the house. The cost of running it is prohibitive in this competitive business and we just couldn’t justify it for the return. Remember the upside down analogy above? Well the travel business is often in that configuration so we needed to stop that. At the same time, we are shifting our focus to specialize more too. For instance, being a full service travel agency simply doesn’t make sense either. Domestic airfare tickets are expensive in term of time to produce, so our focus is going to shift from booking that type of business. We currently have to charge a transaction fee to do it because of the loss of commission from the airlines so it isn’t worth the work involved without that transaction fee. Now we will still book them with a reduced transaction fee of $35, but we will suggest if people want to book their flights and save themselves the transaction fee, do it on the internet instead themselves. For international flights, we will continue to provide the same service we have always provided. We can usually effect a savings in comparison to anyone trying to do it themselves.

We sat down and figured out what it was costing us to do the business from the office and the amounts we are spending for that presence and amount of business a storefront provides, isn’t justified. By bringing it back to the house and consolidating the costs we can use the diffference to advertize more aggressively and get a better bang for the buck.

So where is the focus going to be? We are going to work hard to develop a cruise and high end tour business instead. This is more to our liking and from conversations I have had with others makes perfect sense. So how are we going to do this you ask? Well quite simply by creating a travel club in the Lethbridge area. This has been successfully done in Vancouver and elsewhere and plagerizing the model (with permission by the way) from another successful one outside of the Lethbridge area, we will embark on it by aggressively advertizing and by putting on presentations in the area. We are both involved in many activities and that gets our name in front of lots of people. Our first meeting is going to be on September the 19th in Coaldale, likely at the Gem of the West Museum in the gallery. A great facility.

And still on the subject of the travel business, I am going to spend more time on it as well. I love the travel business and enjoy talking to people about their travel adventures and plans. I will be out and about much more often than I have been before and that will allow me to get things stirred up a bit. That is a good thing and I look forward to it.

So what is this about being out and about more often? Well, as you all know, I am associated with Kemmet Photography in Lethbridge. Up to this point I have been spending most of my time keeping the place open, answering the phones, etc. That was not my intention when I became associated with them, to be a clerk. Sorry, not my bag folks. So from this point forward the four of us that are associated with the business have decided to share the load more. My focus is to work more on my stock photography business and am aggressively working on putting a website powered by PayPal to sell my stock work and CD’s on-line as well as through an global agency. I’m also working with another firm combining my photographs with laser imaging to create some of the most beautiful laser cut glass and other materials ever seen. Steve Kothig from Mirage Laser Designs and I have worked on a few projects together and we plan on working on many more. This is a good alliance for both of us as it provides us with an unlimited opportunity to combine our talents and provide the area with the best of the best in terms of permanent glass, marble and wood creations using my photography. And I am directing some efforts to serving the seniors in the Lethbridge region with professional photography. That is my Grey Power project which I have mentioned before in another blog.

And finally, I have taken on several volunteer jobs too. One of them is to sit on a committee for the Big Brothers, Big Sisters in Lethbridge for a Big Auction. It is happening on the 14th of September and we are auctioning off some notable people, including yours truly. I am going to auction my time to teach a day long course in photography either in Waterton or the Pass. I’m looking forward to it and if you need more information or would like to attend call me at 403 634 8801 and I will be glad to sell you a ticket. In fact we are looking to sell entire tables of 8 people so put your thinking caps on to come up with some ideas on who you could invite. What a great cause.

So that is the scoop here folks. If you have any questions or suggestions, feel free to either respond here or give me a call on my cell at 403 634 8801.

All the best to you all…
Tom


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